UK Refuses To Compensate Rhodesian War Veterans

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UK Refuses To Compensate Rhodesian War Veterans

Rhodesian war veterans have demanded that the British government compensate them for propping up the racist Ian Smith regime by fighting against Zimbabwe’s liberation movements during the UDI era.

Responding to the veterans (the ex-Rhodesian Service Men & Women), British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson said the United Kingdom government could not be responsible for paying or supporting them since they were fighting for an illegal government that was under international sanctions.

Below is Ambassador Robinson’s letter to the Ex-Rhodesian Service Men & Women dated 27 August 2020:

Dear Ex-Rhodesian Service Men & Women

I am responding to your submission dated 17 February 2020, as well as Dixon Mohammed’s letter dated 21 January 2020.

I am very sorry for the delay in response, which was partly due to difficulties sourcing information from multiple UK departments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I understand that you have now met The Embassy’s previous Defence Attaché Michael Geldard, Political Counsellor Grant Caider, Second Secretary Calvin Dutt and Defence Assistant Jane Woodworth.

Each of them expressed their deepest sympathies for the unjust way you were conscripted by the Rhodesian Government and were forced to fight against your will.

I want to give you my deepest sympathies also for this injustice. As you are aware, Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence (UDI) from the United Kingdom in 1965.

The United Kingdom, the international community, and the UN Security Council condemned this move and imposed economic sanctions against the Rhodesian regime.

However, as a result of UDI, all Rhodesian Government forces became the sole responsibility of the Rhodesian Government.

I appreciate your point that the Rhodesian Government told you that you were fighting for Queen Elizabeth II but this was not recognised by Queen Elizabeth Il or by the UK Government.

Given this fact, the UK Government cannot take responsibility for the payment or support of the Rhodesian Government’s veterans, no matter how unfair their terms of service had been.

Understand that this position must be a significant disappointment for you, but we stand with the principles you express in how unfair your treatment was.

I know the Embassy would be happy to meet with you again to answer any other questions you may have.

Yours sincerely

Melanie Robinson



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